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Problem with Hornady Critical Defense

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I bought 4 boxes of the new Hornady Critical Defense ammo in 9mm. Yesterday I got a chance to try it out and what a disappointment!! One out of every 3 rounds was a misfire. The hammer left pronounced indentations on the primers but the rounds were duds. Some I even put back in and tried again with the same result. Now I had two hammer indentations on the primer but no fire! :barf:
Today I went to the range and with the same gun (Kahr CW9) I fired my normal carry round, Speer Gold Dot 124 gr. with not a single misfire. Then I ran 50 rounds of Federal American Eagle hard ball with again, not a single misfire.
I'm going to contact Hornady for a refund but needless to say, I would never carry their Critical Defense round.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This topic has gone on for a few months on multiple boards. So, its not new (just maybe new here) They changed the primers design, and the new primers are supposedly copper colored instead of silver colored now. But, there are still reports.
All 4 boxes have the copper colored primers!!!:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update from Hornady

Today I talked with Doug at Hornady. He immediately said they want them back to find out what is going on. He instructed me to send them back via UPS but I had to ask him to pay for the shipping and he reluctantly agreed. I told him that since they manufactured the ammo and I already paid for it I didn't feel that they should ask me to be out any more cash because the ammo is defective. So UPS is picking it up tomorrow. I'll post the results from Hornady when I get an answer.
BTW -- Doug said they don't manufacture primers. They buy them from a supplier so I'm sure the supplier will hear about it also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Update from Hornady

Well, today the rep from Hornady called me and said it was my gun!!!:( He said he measured headspace, etc. on the rounds and everything was in specs. Then he took it to the range and fired some from a Glock and a couple other guns and did not have a FTF. He said the specs for primer indent is .0117 and the rounds I sent back that had failed in my gun showed indents of .0113. (I think I got that right, maybe it was .017). So the only thing they will do is return the ammo to me!
I again repeated that right after their ammo failed to fire I shot Gold Dots, Federal American Eagle and UMC without one failure. Didn't matter -- it's my gun. I told him that I had done some research online and found that others were having the same problem with Critical Defense ammo -- I'm not the only one and only then did he admit that they have had numerous returns of that ammo for the same reason -- failure to fire. But he refused to do anything but return the ammo. I asked him to explain why my gun didn't have a problem with any other ammo and he said he couldn't comment on other brands.
So I'm getting the ammo back. Don't know what I'll do with it but you can bet I'll never trust my life with it. I know Hornady is a good company but this is really disappointing. I'll stick with Gold Dots that have NEVER failed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thanks for the report. I will be sure to never buy or carry this ammo. Could you imagine the consequences in a defense weapon if this happened ? Yikes !!!
I am not trying to badmouth Hornady. I know they make some good ammo. However I was really disappointed in their response that it is my gun and there is nothing they can do. Maybe it does fire okay in Glocks!! I don't own a Glock. My Kahr fires everything else successfully so I'm not buying their excuse. AND after researching this a little I've found out that a good number of people are having this problem with Critical Defense ammo. The guy at Hornady even admitted as much!!
What I don't understand is that they know they have a problem with ammo that is designed to save one's life in a confrontation. It has a high failure rate that could cost one's life and they still want to blame it on the gun????:barf:
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
With a 1 in 3 failure rate, my first suspicion would have been light primer strikes. That's just too high a rate for primer failure. My first move would have been to try it in another 9mm as a test.

You should try talking to Kahr about evaluating your firing system.
You should research other forums on this subject....Many more guns than mine are experiencing the same problem. I did talk with Kahr -- they offered to examine the gun if I have the problem with various ammo but they were very doubtful it is the gun if I have the failure with only Critical Defense ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I have. You should research systems analysis and statistics. The scenario you described argues strongly on first glance the diagnosis is a fire group problem, not an ammo problem. That would be the very first thing to investigate in a differential diagnosis of the problem.

Examination by experts appear to have confirmed that!

The problem is that the HCD ammo appears to have poor tolerance for out-of-spec guns. It is not "bad" ammo, it is simply less tolerant of guns not reliably creating the depth and force of primer penetration the industry standards specify. The problem can be solved by either gun manufacturers paying more attention to primer function, or it can be solved by making primers easier to ignite. But laying the blame on the ammo as "defective" when the gun is not performing to spec. is not a credible analysis.
Uhhh, maybe so, but ammo that is touted as "CRITICAL DEFENSE" designed to save one's life but that won't fire in a number of different types and makes of guns and only works if a gun is 100% perfectly in spec is NOT my idea of an ammo I want to use to defend my life. I've tested many different quality hollow points in my gun with NO problems. You can bet one of those will not be Hornady's Critical Defense!! I just hope no one experiences a tragedy from this ammo.
And, keep in mind the rep at Hornady finally admitted to me that they have had an unusual amount of this ammo returned for the same FTF problem. What irritates me is that because the ammo is up to "specs" they won't do anything about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I wonder, how much usage has your Kahr had? Could it be that you're starting to see the results of a weakening firing pin spring?
I replaced the firing pin spring as well as recoil spring not long ago and have only about 120 rounds with the new springs. I'm thinking of replacing the firing pin spring again just in case I got a defective one. I think that's a long shot but maybe worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
As mentioned a while back in this thread, I had 2 rounds out of the first 10 rounds of a box of Critical Defense that did not go bang on the first strike with my Taurus PT-709. I've put more than a dozen other types of FMJ and JHP ammunition - more than 750 rounds - through this same gun with NO issues. Wolf, Golden Bear, Tula, Federal, Remington, Winchester, Speer, American Eagle, and PMC Bronze. Cheap ammo, premium ammo - NO OTHER FAILURE TO FIRE rounds with ANY of these EXCEPT the Critical Defense.

It ain't the gun. Or at least ONLY the gun. The 2 rounds that did not fire in my gun DID fire on the second strike in the same gun. I still have 6 boxes of CD in my safe. I'm going to keep shooting this stuff to see if I get any more no-fires. But I'm not going to count on it to save my life. I'm disappointed in the response that Excalibur got from Hornady - if they freely admit that they've had more of this ammo come back for the same issue than the other things they make, simple problem analysis says there's got to be an issue. But I guess I understand their position - admit an issue, and you've got probably hundreds of thousands of rounds at risk and no way to figure out which ones will fire and which ones won't unless you hit that primer with a firing pin. I've chosen not to be the lab rat. I'll stick to my Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot - I've never had a no-fire with either of these in ANY gun or in ANY caliber.
You're right!! It ain't the gun no matter what Hornady says. My gun has fired without problem any other ammo I've run through it so why are they trying to tell me it's my gun????
Here's the latest (and final) from Hornady....I sent 3 1/2 boxes of the CD back. They then called me as mentioned earlier and told me it was my gun and all they would do is send the ammo back to me. A few days later I received 1 (ONE) box in the mail. I called and was told they would check into it. The next day I got a call from another person saying they would return all three boxes. Wow, what a favor since I paid for it in the first place!!
Again, I beleive Hornady is a good company and a lot of people will not agree with me but I'm done with them. There are too many other companies making quality ammo to put up with this type of hassle. I'll stick with Speer Gold Dot for my carry ammo!
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Just a thought. Since you changed the firing pin spring and had the same results could the firing pin itself be a tiny bit short? If your firing pin is the correct length then just accept the fact that that ammo is not reliable in your gun. Long story short just don't use it, period. There are too many other good brands of ammo out there. But I do want to commend you for bringing it to our attention. I would think that if Hornady knows it has a problem with light primer strikes, then they should get a new primer supplier. The fact that other brands of ammo works in your gun means Hornady is using very tempermental primers that do not allow for any variance from "standard". That is simply not acceptable in a product marketed as Critical Defense ammo. Critical Defense should imply that it would work in a zip gun with a firing pin powered by a rubber band.
My thoughts exactly! I'm not denying the ammo works fine in some other guns and I am going to obtain the exact length of the firing pin from Kahr to make sure mine is okay. HOWEVER, as you so well expressed, they are advertising this new ammo as the ultimate self defense ammo yet the Hornady rep clearly stated that they are having an unusual amount of it returned due to FTF's. Others can trust their lives to it....me? Never! It will not go back in my gun. Anyone interested in 3 boxes of it???:)
 
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